Steve Corbeille on window treatments and interior design | Home Front

Aug 07, 2014

Steve Corbeille is an interior design professional with more than 25 years of experience, specializing in custom window treatments, bedding, upholstery and wall coverings. Corbeille, along with investors Mauro and Yasmine Gibellini, founded NEST 301 with the desire to give easy access to the finest furniture, art, and decor in one showroom coupled with exceptional customer service. Corbeille and his wife Anne Corbeille live in Comus with their two children.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

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Steve Corbeille is an interior design professional with more than 25 years of experience, specializing in custom window treatments, bedding, upholstery, and wall coverings. Corbeille, along with investors Mauro and Yasmine Gibellini, founded NEST 301 in North Bethesda to provide easy access to high end home furnishings. Send him your design questions now.

We are in the process of building a 3100 sf year-round living custom home in Bethany Beach..We need to decide our window treatments now as we discuss window placement in our floor plan. Plantation shutters are popular here, but they are expensive and cold looking. We are going with the Restoration Hardware look and are considering draperies in most rooms. Any opinions or advice for us, please?

Great question, as this is a critical stage. We do a lot of shutters, but they can tend to be cold and moreover, are permanently in your view.  My best advice is shoot me some pictures, or photos, and I'll be happy to suggest and follow up. By the way, I have a home in Bethany and would be more than happy to stop by for a site visit. There is no cost involved; if you like what you hear, we can go from there.

Good luck,

Steve

We are happy to have a huge window in our living room that is basically floor to ceiling--it lets in lots of light and makes the house feel bigger. But it is covered with terrible-looking, decades-old vertical blinds. This is a huge window--and it faces the street so we have to have window treatments of some kind. What would you recommend in its place?

You are right. Ditch the verticals ASAP. The long drapery will look the nicest, and also be the most functional. There are fabulous choices of fabric on the market. I will be happy to do a site visit, at no cost, and give you the perfect recommendations from 32 years of experience.

Thanks,

Steve

We just bought our first house and I'm a complete newbie at interior decoration. There currently are cream honeycomb shades throughout the house that I'm thinking about slowly replacing, but I'm having a hard time figuring out which company to use without it costing an arm or leg. Which blind/shade companies do you like/dislike/recommend?

I have to admit, I'm rather pompous when it comes to shades. Most are too commercial looking. The least expensive, but quite nice are solar shades. This is a great start, if you are on a limited budget. After this, you really want to treat each room individually. This doesn't mean that rooms don't flow from one to the other, but it's nice to create a unique look.

Hello, I have no window dressings currently (just blinds) and no art on the walls, I just don't know where to start. I have 3 large windows in my 1bdrm w/a den condo with a fantastic view (so I never have my living room blinds down) and a neutral earth tone pallet with paint and furniture (no decorative pillows either).

Start by choosing one fabric, any fabric that you love. If it suits itself to a pillow, as an example, you will be surprised that the room can evolve quickly from there. Use that fabric as a base to selecting complimentary and coordinating fabrics for furniture/window treatments, etc. As well as your wall finishes. Finish with art that doesn't have to match anything in the room. You just need to love it.

Good luck,

Steve

Hi - I have four windows in my master bedroom for which I'm considering using roman shades. It's a big room, currently painted a off-white, so I'm thinking that a fun, bright pattern might be a good way to dress up the room without too much effort. I like the texture of classic roman shades, but it seems that most companies only do patterned shades for flat romans, with the classic romans being limited to solid colors or vertical stripes. Are patterned classic roman shades just not a good idea?

Don't pay attention to any of that. There is nothing wrong with patterned materials for any type of roman shade. What you need to do is simply note whether you want the room to be traditional, transitional or modern. After that, choose a fabric you love for the shades, and develop the rest of the room around it.

Good luck,

Steve

I'd like to replace the builder grade brass chandelier in my small 12x12 dining room. I've seen some lights that I have liked in brushed nickel but I'm concerned that they may clash with the black iron curtain rods I have in the room. Is there a good rule of thumb about mixing metals in such a small space?

First, good idea on ditching the brass chandelier. Black and silver are a terrific combination, and mixing those metal is perfectly fine. Typically you want to mix metals that are either warm or cold; in this case, the black and silver are cold (in a good way). Run with it. You are on the right track.

Thanks,

Steve

Joe Johnson chat transcript was not available the day of the live chat, nor is it in Archive. Can you fix this?

We just checked and it seems to be there. Here is the link

http://live.washingtonpost.com/home-front-0724.html

I own a small townhouse with a bay window in the living room and a box window in the dining area. I have been doing some remodeling and recently got rid of curtains and put roman shades in both these windows. I can't decide how to use the newly available terrain though. I used to keep some photographs in the bay and had a couple of plants in the box window. The box has morning sunlight and the bay has afternoon light. I thought about making the bay a seating area but it is just a little high off the floor. I could just put plants in but I was trying to think up something more imaginative. Ideas ?

Flank both bays outside and as high as possible with some stationary drapery panels. This will make the bays a focal point. Whether you put plants, which creates a comfortable look, or a pedestal with art, either are good options--whatever suits your fancy. By the way, I suggest solar shades within the bay to handle your sunlight issues.

Thank you,

Steve

Hi! Hopefully you can help with this dilemma. My living room and dining room are entirely open to one another, just delineated from each other by the ceiling coming down a bit between them, and the walls coming in a bit on each side, framed with molding. Currently, the two rooms have the same rugs; 8x10 jute. Unfortunately, those rugs are falling apart. We are searching for new ones and considering going with something a bit nicer, and finally found ones that we like. They are a solid color, wool, from PB with fringe on the shorter edge. We would stick with the 8x10 for the dining room, since it fits perfectly under our long narrow DR table, but would like a 5x8 for the living room because the 8x10 covered more floor than necessary there. Here's the problem: the short end with the fringe would end up turned one way in the DR and the opposite way in the LR. We would need the long (fringeless) edge aligned with the couch in the LR, which is perpendicular to the placement of the DR table. (Furniture arrangement can't change due to windows/fireplace, etc. )The rooms are sooo close to one another. Will this look strange? The same rug, different sizes, turned in different directions? Alternately, would it look weird to have the nicer, wool rug in the DR and a sisal in the LR, which is a bit less formal of a room, stylistically? Note the two rugs that we have now are less than a foot from one another. Thanks for taking the time to help! I've searched high and low for pics of this type of arrangement, to see how it would look, and can't find anything at all that is representative.

Here's a quick but easy answer. Contact someone like "Carpet Creations." They can perfectly trim the existing carpet, remove and reapply fringe, etc, for a very reasonable price.

Thanks,
Steve

The master bath in my 100 year old rowhouse has 3 windows that are all different shapes and sizes. There are 2 glass block windows on the left wall (as viewed from the doorway) that are the same height but different widths. And there is a casement window (directly across from the door) that is a different height and width too. I found a relaxed roman shade from The Shade Store that will work well with the colors in the bathroom. My question is -- should I install the shade on all 3 windows (outside mount to make the windows look like they are the same height) or just the 1 window directly across from the door since that is the most visible window and needs to be covered for privacy? I've gotten lots of conflicting advice and would love to know how you would handle this problem. Thanks so much!

My advice would be to hang the one window first. The blocked glass windows could very likely stand on their own merit, architecturally. In which case, you will not waste the money for the other two shades. But you'll know immediately, whether you feel you need the other two shades, and you will feel much better about then spending the dollars.

Good luck,

Steve

Steve Corbeille was referred to me, an Atlanta based interior designer, several years ago when I needed to partner with a window treatment specialist for a client in the DC area. I was thrilled to see this feature highlighting his services and wanted to share my enthusiasm for all that will benefit from his professional insight during your Q&A. He served my firm extremely well in executing a two-story treatment for my client and went the extra yard to insure complete satisfaction with the custom treatment. Happy to see that he is still serving the design trade with excellence! Loretta J. Willis, Allied ASID, www.classic-chairs.com, www.alightreflection.com (blog)

Hi Loretta,

So kind of you to offer those sentiments. I now have a fabulous furniture showroom in Bethesda, NEST 301. Please come see us when you are in town.

Thanks and all the best,

Steve

Hi, We have a full length window over our bathtub/shower. We'd planned on hanging plantation shutters over the window to both shed the water and offer privacy - yet still see the sky when taking a bath. Figuring the opening swing of a full-face shutter was problematic so at the moment we've got inexpensive white miniblinds that serve the purpose (meh!)... What can you comment about the (Bali, e.g.) "diffusion acrylic" blinds? just how "privacy" are they?... and durable? Thank you for any information you may offer.

Hi, not an easy one, as I'm not really familiar with that product. I will do some research and feel free to contact me at scorbeille@nest301.com

Thanks,

Steve

WOW... this is the topic eating me up right now... thank you! We have a 1920's sorta-craftsman-era house...cream walls with the usual 96 inch white ceilings (no crown moulding). I need to replace 1-inch black curtain rods that are too skinny, too low, and too severe, over double-wide windows. (one in BR one in LR). The curtains will be full-length pleated lined drapes and the rods will likely be some variation on brushed brass or medium wood-tone. HELP! 1) All the way to the ceiling (ceiling-mounts)? 3 inches below the ceiling? Half way to the ceiling from the top of the window frame? 2) Fat round traverse rods and hooks? or just straight poles a bit wider than I've got now (with clips on loops)?. Thank you! Jura... you rock!

Hi Jura,

Great question. If you have an excess of 10" between top of window and ceiling, I would hang the rod about 6-7" above the window frame. Do something that is not greater than 1.5" diameter with rings and finials of your choice; or my preference-endcaps. If there's very little room between your ceiling and top of the frame, hang small brackets from the ceiling, which will make the rod look like it's floating just above the window.

Good luck,

Steve

When we built our house 16 years ago, 2" wooden blinds were popular and attractive. I've heard that now that less decorated windows are popular, I.e., bare windows. What do you think?

Bare windows are certainly great for the pocket book haha!

But you have the right idea-less is better. My strong recommendation is to flank your windows with beautiful long drapery panels that just happen to also be functional. You will get a lot more bang for your buck, and keep your windows wide open. By the way, we have over 5000 SKUs of fabric selections at NEST 301-please come visit!

Thanks,

Steve

What are Mr. Corbeille's qualifications that allow him to call himself an "interior design professional"?

Fair question, as I was a history major in college. I entered my father's drapery business at the age of 21 (3rd generation by the way), so I grew up with the business. After my father abruptly left the business, due to illness, when I was 22. I am now 53 and have designed rooms for furnishings and window treatments in over 7,000 homes in my career--no lie! Humbly, my work has been featured in Home & Design, Architectural Digest and others.

Thanks for the question,

Steve

Submitting early since I'll be on vacation Thursday: I've just moved into a house with two small windows on either side of the living room fireplace. They are casements set into the wall, which is about 6" thick, and there's no trim or sill of any kind. Could you please recommend a window treatment? The only other window in the room is an ordinary double-hung sash window, which has custom panels hanging from rings on a wooden rod. I have plenty more of that fabric. Thanks!

If your taste is modern to transitional, certainly roman shades work well. However, my preference is still panels flanking the windows, so that you don't know whether there is molding or not, and what creates a greater visual impact for your fireplace.

Good luck,

Steve

Hi, Steve and Jura - my question is less about window treatments and more about general interior design. In our kitchen we have oak flooring and oak cabinets - both the same shade - kind of a warm honey color. I don't like that they are the same color and I feel that the cabinets look somewhat "cheap". I want to paint the cabinets but my husband is reluctant because he's worried about the impact on resale (not that we are thinking of selling in the near term!). What are your thoughts on painted kitchen cabinets?

Just finished a project last week where we painted the cabinets. At the end of the day, all that really matters is that both, you are happy with the results and that by virtue of them looking nice, they will actually enhance the kitchen when you sell the home.

I say, go for it!

Thanks,
Steve

I really would like to makeover our queen size bed this fall. Currently in the summer we use a very lightweight white down blanket and in the winter a white Matouk cover on a down duvet- white sheets . This has been the look for years - any ideas to add some texture and maybe subtle neutrals to the bed coverings/linens?

The bed ensemble is the perfect place to highlight your personality, as  you can mix multiple fabrics. I would recommend a solid texture as a coverlet, lightly quilted instead of a duvet (simply because it will lie much better). Then add at least 3 20-24" square pillows  with two small rectangular pillows in front. I love prints and organic textures, so you really cannot go wrong here. Maybe finish the bottom with a lovely chenille, velvet or fur throw.

Have fun,

Steve

The windows in my home are too square for my taste. Is it advisable to mount roman shades above the windows, thus fooling the eye into seeing a longer window? Thank you!

Absolutely. First, the more light you can save, the better. It always looks nice to make the window appear to be taller. Don't hesitate.

Steve

Clarification needed -- this article is only about WOOD doors, correct?

Here is your answer from Elizabeth Mayhew the author"

Yes I was only talking about wood doors although you can get a similar look on metal. The process would be different in that you wouldn't have to sand and use the Swedish Putty and more likely you would just send a metal door out to be powder coated.

Here is a link to the article.

 

We have four 7-ft tall windows above 2 sliding glass doors and are looking at adding motorized blinds to the upper windows. Do you have any experience with motorized blinds/recommended brands or have any alternate suggestions?

Absolutely. We do a lot of motorization. A great product is Q-motion, as it is a very dependable battery operated product, that's incredibly quiet as well. Here at NEST 301, we are actually a dealer for this brand, because I like it so much.

Good luck,

Steve

We are thinking about window treatments for our 1917 home, and we'd prefer roman or roller shades rather than curtains, as there are beautiful moldings around the windows that we don't want to cover up. The problem is that the windows are rather shallow for an inside mount - any ideas on how we can handle this?

My strong view on this is the following: I love beautiful moldings, but if you have ample molding exposed around the rest of the room, then covering up some of the window moldings with drapery is actually the perfect balance. If you just cannot allow yourself to do this, as long as you have 3/4" reveal, flat roman shades will work.

Thanks,

Steve

I'm in a ground floor condo with 6 windows. People walking by would be able to see right into my home. I value my privacy, and I am that rare person who doesn't care about natural sunlight coming in, and in fact, I prefer lighting I can control. I just got all of my windows replaced, and I had to take down the cellular blinds that came with the condo. I never raised them, they simply covered the windows at all times. They're kind of dingy and dirty, and I'm trying to figure out if I should just buy new ones, or is there is a better option?

I admit, I'm not a fan of cellular shades. Consider a 1% density solar shade. They are modern, sleek, afford privacy, and filter some light. That would be my choice.

Thanks,
Steve

What are the pros and cons of drapes lined with a fabric like cotton and drapes lined with an acrylic layer? Thanks.

Good question. Unless your fabric is ridiculously heavy, you always want to use the softest linings, more often cotton. The nicest drapery is made with two linings, a flannel interlining and cotton outer lining. If you have light weight fabrics, absolutely do this.

Thanks,
Steve

I am very sensitive to light in the morning and want window treatments in my bedroom (windows that open out with a crank) that let in no light. My current pull down shades are good material--except there is still light on the sides due to the shade mounting. So I need something that is completely flush with sides of the window. Next Day Blinds did not offer such a product, only options like the one I currently have. What are you suggestions? Thank you.

This may sound traditional, but still the absolute only way to completely black out the light is with full length drapery, preferably under a valance to stop light from filtering out the top. Draperies cover all light coming from the sides, like no other treatment.

Thanks,
Steve

I have a large front window that needs something like a solar shade but my living room has a persian rug and furnishings that I think are fairly "elegant and sophistocated" and also whimsical. I just can't image a large swath of vinyl on a large area (2 3'x8'). It seems very contemporary and "cool" in my living room. Any suggestions?

You are so right, but you can create a lovely transitional effect with elegant drapery panels flanking this shade. It's something I have done often, and is a surprisingly terrific look.

Thanks,

Steve

My husband and I disagree regarding choosing a color for drapes. We live in Florida and have a large patio door facing east out onto a screened porch. One of us wants a color taken from one of the less predominant colors of the area rug, the other a more predominant color. The walls are BM Desert Tan, the area rug is gold, tan, black with teal/olive green & burgundy. We do agree that the material needs to be as lightweight as possible.

There is no wrong answer here. I typically have the window treatment fabric and the material on your largest piece of furniture harmonize. So whatever that is, lean that way. You can always embellish the drapery with a lighter or darker contrast banding.

Thanks,
Steve

What are your thoughts re: SGD treatment (for insulation purposes). Thank goodness verticle blinds are not an option!

If you have the space, pick a terrific open weave fabric that is transparent; then line it with a complimentary cotton for privacy and insulation. You will get a terrific and unique look from all of your friends.

Thanks,
Steve

We appreciate your being on the chat. We're taking a break for two weeks. See you on August 28.

My midcentury ranch has the original large horizontally-sliding Anderson windows in the "public" rooms and big sash windows in the rest. With dogs I didn't want floor drapes as hair magnets so I installed simple cellular shades, inside mount. I like the clean and uncluttered effect but wondered what else you'd recommend for a little more pizzazz.

I don't like valances above these types of shades, so I recommend faux romans. These will make your windows appear taller and they 'll look as if you've simply drawn roman shades up, which is a much more natural look. As a bonus, you will cover the top of the cellular shades.

Thanks,

Steve

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

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Steve Corbeille
Steve Corbeille is an interior design professional with more than 25 years of experience, specializing in custom window treatments, bedding, upholstery, and wall coverings. Corbeille, along with investors Mauro and Yasmine Gibellini, founded NEST 301 with the desire to give easy access to the finest furniture, art, and decor in one showroom coupled with exceptional customer service. Corbeille and his wife Anne Corbeille live in Comus with their two children.
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